Bowl Final Thoughts, Predictions & Advice: Peach, Fiesta, Citrus & TaxSlayer Bowls
Check out the final thoughts, a few predictions, and some investment advice for the Peach, Fiesta, Citrus, TaxSlayer bowls – because you have to.
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Game Previews & Predictions
– Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus: Louisville vs. LSU, 11 am, ABC
– TaxSlayer, Georgia Tech vs. Kentucky, 11 am, ESPN
– Chick-fil-A Peach, Alabama vs. Washington, 3:00, ESPN
– PlayStation Fiesta, Clemson vs. Ohio State, 7:00, ESPN
– Goodyear Cotton: Wisconsin vs. Western Michigan, Jan. 2, 1:00, ESPN
– Outback, Florida vs. Iowa, Jan. 2, 1:00, ABC
– Allstate Sugar: Oklahoma vs. Auburn, Jan. 2, 8:30, ESPN
– Rose, USC vs. Penn State, Jan. 2, 5:00, ESPN
I apologize for being a big Peach-centric here, but I’ve been embedded in Atlanta all week for a game that might be a total disaster. But it’s the biggest and most important day of the college football season – it’s playoff time.
There’s still a lot more to come with four interesting games on January 2nd, and that whole national title thing, but this is it. This is our Christmas morning.
This is all just for spits, giggles, and entertainment purposes only. However, just in case you dabble …
Alabama media and fans aren’t having fun right now. All nutjob fans live and die with their teams and programs, but at the moment, Crimson Tide types really are all about their football team. There’s no pro team to get behind. There aren’t any other big-time sports in in the state. And there really isn’t all that much interest in the rest of the college football world.
It was one of the funniest moments of the time spent in the media area. Michigan was driving against Florida State with a few minutes to go in the gripping Orange Bowl, and some of the Alabama contingent left to go to bed. Of course that’s anecdotal, but that’s not an isolated incident.
Alabama types went from ultra-cocky, to booking tickets for Tampa, to trying to make themselves crazy by figuring out how Washington could win this game, to now being totally and completely freaked out at the possibility that maybe, on the wrong day, their Crimson Tide could lose.
If I’m being totally honest, as a fan, I’d love nothing more than to see Alabama play either Clemson or Ohio State for the national title. But at the same time, also as a fan, I’d love nothing more than to see Washington pull this off and add some new spice to the mix.
Maybe I’m being way too optimistic, but I really do think Washington can hang around. There’s absolutely no edge to this team, though. There’s no grouchiness – like Oregon had two years ago before playing Florida State. There’s no cockiness. There’s no us-against-the-world thing going on. We’ll see how this plays out, but Washington acted all week like it wasn’t the least bit intimidated by Bama.
Alabama will run more trick plays than Washington. Petersen will get quirky and times, but he’s not going to go all Boise State-vs.-Oklahoma gimmicky. Alabama might.
And that comes from its head coach. It would be a really, really, really good thing for college football if Chris Petersen grew into a mega-star. He’s a good dude, he’s got personality, and he’s comes across as always having the proper perspective. I’m a Nick Saban apologist – there’s way too much pressure to be perfect – but Petersen could show that there’s another way to succeed at college football.
But here’s the other thing – Alabama players are totally and completely likable. The stars are thoughtful, interesting, and they know how to handle themselves. I know this is the Evil Empire, but talk to the Crimson Tide staff, players and coaches, and it’s easy to see what an incredible machine this whole thing is.
Alabama wins, but Washington will survive the first quarter and make this interesting enough to keep watching. I’m freaked by Virginia Tech’s performance against Arkansas in the Belk. No, size doesn’t always matter.
The Orange Bowl sort of threw me for a loop. I know Florida State was rested and motivated, but the ACC has looked way too good – even in some of the losses – with that Orange Bowl a great performance by a team that got absolutely destroyed by Louisville.
In a stick-with-first-answer sort of way, I’m still picking LSU in the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus, but this should be one of the most interesting first quarters of the bowl season. If Lamar Jackson is Lamar Jackson in the first ten minutes, uh-oh.
Stanford won without Christian McCaffrey. Baylor won without Shock Linwood. Teams adapt, survive, and move on. LSU will be just fine without Leonard Fournette in a strong win over Louisville for the Tigers, and for head coach Ed Orgeron.
Stay away in a big way from that 59-point total. You just don’t know. If Louisville is smoking, that total is obliterated. But one of these two defenses could rise up and be special.
Shhhh, but this might be the best game of the day, even if it’s not the best matchup. Kentucky vs. Georgia Tech in the TaxSlayer Bowl will rip through the 63.5 point total like a bus full of media types handed free bags of Chick-fil-A. Expect over 500 rushing yards between the two.
I know I’m supposed to be sold on Kentucky, but I’m just not. The Cats won’t have an answer once the Yellow Jacket option starts working. The line’s gone down from Georgia Tech -5 to -3.5, but it’s fine no matter what.
Full disclosure, I have no real handle on the Fiesta Bowl, and neither does anyone else. I’ve asked dozens of media types and heard opinion after opinion, and they’re all different.
Again, that Orange Bowl was an eye-opener, and it might have been prescient. Florida State was No. 2 on the list of teams that desperately needed a month off to rest and recharge, and it looked the part against the Wolverines. No. 3 was Tennessee, and it managed to play that way when needed against Nebraska. No. 1? Clemson.
You’re never wrong picking the better team. And Clemson is the better team.
It just is. At least it is in terms of experienced talent.
But I’m sticking with my Ohio State call. Give Urban and his staff over a month to prepare, and I’m taking him over any coach in college football.
Any coach. With a week to prepare? Maybe not, but this might be a different-looking Ohio State team than you’re used to. But that defense will still be flying around like normal, and it’ll pick off Deshaun Watson a few times.
I’m not there yet. I have to see how everything plays out, and I have to get the vibe once Tampa kicks in, but I kinda, sorta think that the Fiesta Bowl might actually be your 2016 season college football national title game.
These two will trade haymakers early on, and then the game will settle down. Don’t get comfortable – this Fiesta Bowl will have about 95 momentum shifts.
Both of these teams know how to fight back. And both of these teams struggled at times to close games out with ease. This will be worth postponing getting your groove on for New Year’s Eve.
AND FINALLY … a Saturday full of amazing college football matchups, a Sunday full of Week 17 NFL showdowns, and then a Monday with the Rose, Outback, Cotton and Sugar bowls. Do what you need to do, but make this a three-day weekend of all three-day weekends and enjoy it. Really, try to enjoy this, because this is why we watch and follow football. This is what we all wait for. Let’s just hope it doesn’t stink like last year’s run of New Year’s Six games – it won’t.